Through the summer months, youth leaders of SYS have been exploring health and wellness on Tuesdays and cinema and creative storytelling on Thursdays.
On a recent Tuesday, a fitness trainer visited the group and taught tips for simple at-home exercising With such exercises as leg lifts and squats, the teens learned (and now share with staff) that an expensive gym membership isn’t required to maintain a healthy workout routine.
Afterwards, youth leaders sat around the table to discuss and express their opinions on body image. They agreed that there are major misconceptions and unrealistic beauty standards for both women and men depicted by the mainstream media. One presenter asked the audience to participate in listing the different stereotypes that define “beauty.” A contrasting list of realistic high self-esteem traits followed.
As one SYS teen put it, “what you see on the screen isn’t what you see on the street.” Instead, the youth remind themselves and encourage their peers to focus on “internal beauty,” and strengthening such characteristics as kindness, loyalty and honesty.
One of the teens closed out the afternoon by presenting a storybook that focused on an important issue in their community: teen bullying – citing her own experiences on the receiving end at school.
She explained that the SYS summer programming has equipped her with skills needed to maintain a more positive outlook. Everything from healthier habits, stronger interpersonal skills and a boosted level of confidence, the Seeing Youth Succeed program has made her feel more ready to face the issue head on.